China’s biggest bank corruption criminal repatriated from US

The People’s Republic of China flag and the US stars and stripes fly on a lamppost along Pennsylvania Avenue near the U.S. Capitol in Washington during Chinese President Hu Jintao’s state visit, January 18, 2011. (Reuters pic)

BEIJING: A Chinese man who embezzled US$485 million from his employer in the biggest bank corruption case in China’s history was repatriated on Wednesday by US authorities, the country’s anti-graft agency said.

China’s widely-publicised “Sky Net” operations to bring home overseas fugitives suspected of corruption and economic crimes are a key plank of President Xi Jinping’s sweeping campaign to eradicate graft.

Xu Chaofan, a former president of a sub-branch of the Bank of China at Kaiping in southern Guangdong province, fled to the United States in 20 but was detained in 2003 following the cooperation of law enforcement officials in the two countries.

He was convicted of the crime and sentenced to a 25-year prison term in the United States in 2009 and had been serving his time there, China’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) said in a statement until he accepted repatriation following pressure by US and Chinese authorities.

More than 2 billion yuan (US$300 million) of the amount Xu stole has been recovered, the agency added.

China has turned up the pressure on graft suspects overseas by asking families to contact them and encourage them to return, as well as by releasing personal details, such as their addresses.

But it has had limited success in securing cooperation from Western countries such as Australia, Canada and the United States, where many of the most wanted live, largely because of what those governments see as a lack of transparency and due process in China’s judicial system.